All that Jazz / B1 / Poland

20.12.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
All that Jazz
AKA
--
Year of Film
1979
Director
Bob Fosse
Starring
Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking, Cliff Gorman, Ben Vereen, Erzsebet Foldi, Michael Tolan, Max Wright, William LeMassena, Irene Kane, Deborah Geffner
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama | Music | Musical
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Leszek Drzewinscy | Jadwiga Drzewinscy
Artist
Leszek Drzewinscy | Jadwiga Drzewinscy
Size (inches)
26 5/16" x 37 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This Polish B1 poster for All that Jazz (1979) was designed and illustrated by Leszek and Jadwiga Drzewinscy. The film itself was directed by the late Bob Fosse who was a man of many talents, being a dancer, choreographer, theatre and film director, screenwriter and actor. Fosse won multiple awards for his choreography of musicals but also found success as a director of films, including Cabaret (1972), starring Liza Minelli. Arguably his most famous project as choreographer is the musical Chicago which was first produced in 1975 and has been running ever since. It’s currently the second-longest running musical behind Phantom of the Opera.

All that Jazz is a semi-autobiographical film which was written by Fosse in response to a real-life incident that happened a few years earlier. Whilst planning for the first performance of Chicago, he was also directing and editing a film based on the life of comedian Lenny Bruce, released as Lenny (1974). Due to the physical stresses of such a workload, Fosse suffered a heart attack that almost killed him. Roy Scheider (in arguably a career-best performance) stars as Joe Gideon, a Fosse facsimile who is balancing the production of a new musical with the preparation of a film based on a fictional comedian.

To add to the madness Gideon takes amphetamines, smokes constantly and sleeps with his dancers at any opportunity. He is also dealing with an ex-wife who is helping him with the production of the show, a daughter who he struggles to find time for and a despairing girlfriend, Kate Jagger (Ann Reinking). Using much-praised editing techniques, the audience gets to understand the frenzy with which Gideon lives each day. Throughout the film, he is shown conversing with a woman wearing all white, known as Angelique (Jessica Lange). It becomes clear that this is his imagination and Angelique is the angel of death, with whom he’s discussing the mistakes he’s made in his life.

Eventually, Gideon’s health worsens and he’s admitted to hospital. When his film is released without his final say so, he suffers a massive heart attack and is rushed to have open heart surgery. With scenes from the operation intercut, a series of incredible musical numbers referencing events from his life are staged in his imagination as he battles to stay alive. The film was received well by critics and audiences alike. Director Stanley Kubrick is reported to have said that it was the “best film I think I have ever seen” when he watched it upon release.

I’ve been unable to find out much about Leszek and Jadwiga Drzewinscy, including whether they’re siblings or a married couple. If anyone can shed any light please get in touch. I did find this gallery of other posters that they worked on, including one for The Blues Brothers (1980). Emovieposters has sold a few posters featuring their artwork too. There’s a clear theme of close-ups of character’s faces.

Magic / B2 / Japan

12.12.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Magic
AKA
--
Year of Film
1978
Director
Richard Attenborough
Starring
Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, David Ogden Stiers
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Horror | Romance
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design features on this Japanese B2 for the release of the 1978 psychological horror, Magic. The film’s screenplay was written by the celebrated novelist, playwright and screenwriter William Goldman. It’s based on the novel of the same name that Goldman had written and released two years earlier, and the producer Joseph E. Levine paid $1m for the rights. Levine hired Richard Attenborough to direct, with whom he’d just completed the war epic A Bridge Too Far. Then the actor Anthony Hopkins, a collaborator of both producer and director (including their last film), was brought onboard to play the lead character.

Hopkins plays Charles “Corky” Withers, a man determined to make a career out of being stage magician. We first see him flop with an act that involves card tricks performed in front of a disinterested audience. The film then jumps a year and Corky has found great success by involving a ventriloquist dummy into his act. A powerful agent called Ben Greene (Burgess Meredith) plans to make an even bigger success of Corky’s act by getting him a slot on prime time TV. However, no one realises that Corky is mentally unstable and his dummy, named Fats, is gaining control over his master.

When it’s suggested that he undergo a medical check to prepare for the TV show, Corky escapes the city and heads to the Catskills mountains where he grew up. There he rekindles a friendship he had with a high school crush called Peggy (Ann-Margret) who is trapped in a loveless marriage with Corky’s old friend Duke (Ed Lauter). Corky begins to relax and is relieved to be away from the pressure of his act, but when Greene appears to convince him to get help to treat his condition, things go awry and Fats acts to protect ‘himself’ with fatal consequences.

The film was a critical success and Hopkins received award nominations for his performance, whilst Goldman won an award for his screenplay in 1979.

The design on this poster is unique to the Japanese market and the B1 version of the poster is nearly identical. The close-up of Fats the dummy at the bottom of the poster was the main image used in the US and UK to promote the film.

First Blood / large / Thailand

08.12.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
First Blood
AKA
Rambo (multiple countries)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Ted Kotcheff
Starring
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney, Jack Starrett, Michael Talbott, Chris Mulkey
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Thriller
Type of Poster
Thai one sheet
Style of Poster
Large style
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas | Drew Struzan (original Rambo figure holding gun, repainted by Tongdee)
Size (inches)
27.5" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the scarce, large-size poster for the Thai release of the first film in what would become known as the Rambo series, First Blood. Helmed by the Canadian director Ted Kotcheff, the film was co-written by the film’s star Sylvester Stallone. Stallone would eventually become best known for two series that between them saw 11 films released over a 40 year period; the Rocky boxing saga and Rambo. The first Rocky film had been met with critical and commercial success when it was released in 1976. A sequel followed three years later and Stallone had Rocky III in cinemas at the same time as First Blood (1982). The latter cemented the actor as a box-office behemoth and he became one of the 1980’s action megastars, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

First Blood started life as a 1972 novel by author David Morrell which had its rights optioned by Columbia Pictures almost immediately. The project then spent the next decade bouncing between studios, producers and directors. Eventually Stallone was offered the lead role and Ted Kotcheff agreed to direct for the legendary producers Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna of Carolco Pictures.

John J. Rambo (Stallone) is a former US Special Forces soldier who has returned from Vietnam still haunted and disoriented by his experiences there. He decides to pay a visit to an ex-forces friend by hitchhiking across the country. When he arrives he discovers that his pal died soon after returning from the war due to exposure to Agent Orange. Rambo continues his journey on foot and eventually arrives in the small town of Hope, Washington. There he is confronted and abused by the local sheriff known as Teasle (Brian Dennehy) who drives Rambo out of town and tells him not to return.

Deciding to defy the orders, Rambo is soon arrested by Teasle for a series of bogus charges. Whilst in detention and being sadistically attacked by the other corrupt sheriffs, Rambo has flashbacks to being a Prisoner of War in Vietnam. Fearing for his life, he fights his way out of the jail. There then follows a cat and mouse chase as he flees into the nearby forest, pursued by Teasle and a gang of his men. He manages to evade and outwit the sheriffs and eventually his former commanding officer Trautman (an excellent Richard Crenna) arrives in Hope to help with the situation. Trautman warns the lawmen that Rambo will not come quietly and urges them not to corner him. When they fail to heed his warning, a series of violent encounters ends with Rambo pitched against Teasle in a night-time confrontation.

The film was a huge box-office success on its release, although film critics were less than impressed at the time. It would later be given a critical reappraisal and quickly gained cult status once it was released on home video. Two sequels were released in the 1980s but these were much more gung-ho and violent than the original. It’s often forgotten how relatively tame the first Rambo film is compared to the three sequels, particularly the later revival film, Rambo (2008).

This is one of three Thai posters that exist for First Blood. At least one of them is for a later re-release but I believe this poster, which is the size of a US one-sheet, was printed for the original cinema release in Thailand. The main figure of Rambo with the giant machine gun is based on the artwork by Drew Struzan that was used on the American one sheet and British quad. It has been repainted by Tongdee and the rest of the poster is of the artist’s own creation.

Tongdee Panumas was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Amityville 3-D / one sheet / USA

05.12.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Amityville 3-D
AKA
Amityville: The Demon
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Fleischer
Starring
Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Robert Joy, Candy Clark, John Beal, Leora Dana, John Harkins, Lori Loughlin, Meg Ryan, Neill Barry
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 4/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
830163
Tagline
WARNING: in this movie you are the victim.

This is the one sheet for the release of the third film in the Amityville series of horror films, known as Amityville 3-D (or Amityville: The Demon). In an unusual step, the producers of the film were forced to add a line of text to the bottom of the poster asserting that it’s not a sequel to the Amityville and Amityville II. This was because legendary Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis was in the middle of a lawsuit with the Lutz family that were part of the original hauntings that inspired the first films. In the film the original story is referenced, as is the murdered family at the centre of the story, the DeFeos.

Amityville 3-D was one of three big horror releases of 1983 that were presented in 3D (the others being Jaws 3 and Friday the 13th part 3). It’s fair to say that the results were hardly spectacular and audiences and critics alike complained about the blurriness of the 3D content, particularly in this film. Notably, this is the only film released by the now defunct Orion Pictures to be given the 3D treatment.

The plot focuses on the journalist John Baxter (Tony Roberts) who, along with his partner Melanie (Candy Clark), has recently exposed a pair of conmen that were living in the infamous house on 112 Ocean Avenue. He is persuaded to buy the house by a local estate agent and after he agrees to do so a series of events occur that all point to a supernatural presence in the home. John is unconvinced and ignores the pleas of Melanie who is convinced that something lurks inside the house. After his daughter Susan (Lori Loughlin) dies in the lake near the house he is finally convinced to allow his friend, the paranormal investigator Doctor Elliot West (Robert Joy) to check out the house. 

This one sheet features artwork of a demonic claw bursting out of the famous house, presumably giving potential ticket buyers an idea of what they’d be in for with the 3D. I’m unsure who designed or painted it (I believe the hand to be an illustration but may be wrong) so if anyone has an idea, please get in touch.

Bergman Festival / 2008 / Czechoslovakia

02.12.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Bergman Festival
AKA
--
Year of Film
Various
Director
Ingmar Bergman
Starring
--
Origin of Film
Various
Genre(s) of Film
Various
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Czechoslovakia
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Vladimir 518
Artist
Vladimir 518
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a poster for a Czechoslovakian film festival focused on 43 films by the legendary Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. The festival took place in 2008, one year after Bergman’s death, and the films were shown in three Czech cities, including Prague. The colourful poster was created by the designer known as Vladimir 518. According to a translation of this Wikipedia article, he’s also a famous Czech rapper and he was born in 1978. The article mentions that he also creates illustrations and designs for comics, books and a music label, BiggBoss. His Instagram feed is here.

The Stone Killer / quad / UK

29.11.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
The Stone Killer
AKA
Le cercle noir [The black circle] (France) | América violenta [Violent America] (Spain)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Charles Bronson, Martin Balsam, Jack Colvin, Paul Koslo, Norman Fell, David Sheiner, Stuart Margolin, Ralph Waite, Alfred Ryder, Walter Burke, Kelley Miles
Origin of Film
Italy | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
This cop plays dirty! | Take away his badge and he'd top the Ten Most Wanted list!

This is the British quad poster for the release of the 1973 crime drama The Stone Killer. The film was one of a number that starred action legend Charles Bronson and was directed by Michael Winner. Their most successful collaboration (in box-office terms), Death Wish, was released a year later. The film features a cop who bends the rules to crack a case and was made in the wake of the hugely successful Clint Eastwood film, Dirty Harry (1971). That film also focused on a detective willing to play dirty, as this poster’s tagline shouts.

Bronson plays detective Lou Torrey who has recently been transferred to a Los Angeles beat. After the murder of a former hitman, he uncovers a plot involving the local mafia. The don, Al Vescari (Martin Balsam) has instigated a number of murders in revenge for killings that took place in 1931. This spree saw Sicilian capos executed across the US (a real-life crime dubbed the Night of the Sicilian Vespers). Vescari has decided to use Vietnam vets to carry out the killings and Torrey must race against time to stop the hitmen before the revenge plot is complete.

The stark imagery on this quad also featured on the US one sheet (see here) and the title block and main tagline have also been recycled by the British designer.